After a Nevada county library publicly announced its support of Black Lives Matter, a local sheriff, in turn, warned that his office would no longer respond to their 911 calls. The announcement was a proposed short statement that was released last week at the end of a meeting agenda.
The statement read:
“We support #BlackLivesMatter. We resolutely assert and believe that all forms of racism, hatred, inequality, and injustice don’t belong in our society.”
It was then met with a letter to the library board of trustees by Sheriff Dan Coverley. In the note, Coverley referred to George Floyd’s tragic death while in police custody as “tragic and preventable.” He then argued that the information simply does not aid claims that authorities are “systemically racist or structurally biased.”
The letter, published on the sheriff office’s website ended, stating:
“Due to your support of Black Lives Matter and the obvious lack of support or trust with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, please do not feel the need to call 911 for help.”
“I wish you good luck with disturbances and lewd behavior since those are just some of the recent calls my office has assisted you with in the past.”
Douglas County spokesperson Melissa Blosser then recanted Coverley’s letter with a statement of her own. “Sheriff Coverley would also like to take this opportunity to clarify that the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will continue to respond to all 911 calls, including those at the Library,” She told Reno Gazette-Journal.
The library director Amy Dodson later told NBC affiliate KSNV in Las Vegas that the proposed statement “simply was meant to state our inclusivity at the library, that we are open and welcoming to everyone and we treat everyone equally.”
Days after the controversy, Dodson met with Coverley. The two then released a joint statement on social media, revealing that they came to an understanding after a “very candid conversation.”
“We agreed that we both support the people of Douglas County and this may have been an unfortunate circumstance of misunderstanding, The library respects and supports the work of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and appreciates everything they do to keep our community safe,” Dodson said.
“This has been a difficult time to be a law enforcement professional and can be disheartening when we perceive that our office may be under attack. My response was rooted in my belief that these issues need to be openly discussed in a way that values diversity and law enforcement,” Coverley continued.
The joint statement concluded that the planned library board meeting, which was being held to consider the proposed statement, will be rescheduled.